Category Archives: Keijo!!!!!!!!

The Meta Game: 2017 Spring Edition

It’s sort of well-understood that otaku TV anime play to the meta. By this I mean it’s about defining, deconstruction, reconstruction, spins, and swapping of existing/known genres and archetypes. It’s a continuous cycle of creation where frameworks that are successful are reused with modification to create something similar but new. New ideas that work often gets grafted into other existing frameworks for added effect. Things also don’t always work out as intended.

What’s interesting about this season’s meta (like a new expansion of M:TG or Shadowverse, as the comparisons may be) is that there are more attempts at misleading or misdirection by giving off generic vibes than not. Last season I think the biggest “gotcha” was in Fuuka, but the most successful misdirection was Kemono Friends, where the audience were treated to this borderline “so bad it’s good” CG animation as a means to help us engage the right part of our collective consciousness in order to parse the surprisingly sincere and nuanced story. Two seasons ago the well-received buttocks anime, Keijo!!!!!!!!, also has this sort of a play to it where viewers go in expecting one thing, but got something quite different. Even original anime projects like Haifuri played this trick via marketing, and it’s unclear to me if it actually fooled anyone. The oft-panned Mahouiku is sort of the victim of not reading the meta correctly, which was using this baited setup to provide a very traditional story, ultimately kind of disappointing the audience. I think this season we will see a few others play out this way as more shows pick up on the meta.

To clarify and disclaim, by “misdirect” I don’t want to imply that there was some kind of intent behind the process. It may be intended or it may not. There are some cases in which the marketing material or the production style was done to give people contrasting expectations, but some cases are not. I think Kemono Friends is a good example where there isn’t an intent to do quite that. Sure, media mix projects often do employ marketing to manage our expectations and solicit interest to a degree, but I want to highlight the shows in which these things get into the “art” of it, as it were, enough that you want to sideboard your deck against the meta, as the analogy goes.

Year in Review 2016: N-listing

I’m putting this out first because the other post can stand by itself, introspection or not. Hey, it’s not March yet.

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It is not Your Fault, Izetta; it’s Mine.


Sometimes reading other people’s blogs give you a way to convey what you wanted to say but couldn’t find the words for, and such is the case here. I don’t know if I am happy with “uncanny valley” to describe where Izetta’s hijinks fall in with Too Much Realism way to explain how some things don’t jive. To me the hope I had with the series shattered when the OP came on in episode 2. If there was a path that leads us beyond the uncanny valley, it would be the bridge of suspended beliefs. Too bad the whole busty witch with no panty shots riding a big gun flying around shooting tanks with swords thing is way over the load bearing limitations of strands of good will and its fantastic, make-believe setting of not-historic-but-you-know-what-is-going-on.

I still stuck with 6 episodes of the show and it turned out to be an OK experience. I can see why certain European countries would like to stick it out with the series through thick and thin, and props to them. For those of us who don’t have a bone in the national-pride-game-because-my-country-is-(not)-in-a-fiction, however, I’m not sure you would have trouble finding a better use of your time and attention than to follow this silly thing that is really just full-on-pandering in disguise.

I’d like to compare it to Keijo!!!!!!!!, where we all go in expecting something and in the end got something slightly different, too, but in that situation our expectation betrayed us in a positive way. (I’d add Keijo!!!!!!!! is a great example of a story use both its strengths and weaknesses to delight). It’s like a post-Aria otaku media world, where we want our wide faces iyashikei stories not because they heal, but because we’re healed through much poetry and finesse, even if the portrayal is the utmost ordinary.